Loud boom precedes fire that destroys $250,000 Baton Rouge home; dogs seen fleeing house _lowres

Photo provided by Baton Rouge Fire department -- Baton Rouge firefighter battle a fire early Tuesday on Stevendale street. The cause of this fire is undetermined. Neighbors passing by said they heard a loud boom and noticed dogs running from the house and some of the dogs were on fire. That neighbor said he tried helping the dogs by putting out the fire. Crews arriving on the scene found the 2 story home fully engulfed in flames. The home was a total loss.

A couple and their three children were not home when fire destroyed their $250,000 house on North Stevendale Street late Monday, state fire officials said.

A neighbor who said he saw dogs on fire, fleeing the burning two-story house at 2481 N. Stevendale St., was able to extinguish the fire on the animals, said Boyd Petty, assistant chief of the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Boyd said Tuesday morning the two dogs that lived at the home escaped with no obvious burns and were safe with their owners.

“There were a lot of booms and bangs,” said Melissa Woods, a neighbor who lives across the street. “You know that it was ammunition in the home. Bullets were flying.”

She said neighbors ran out to help but once they realized live ammunition was firing off, they backed away across the street. She said a bullet even hit one of her neighbors trees.

Fire crews arrived at 11:53 p.m. and found the home engulfed in flames. They were able to get the fire under control by 12:27 a.m.

Petty said the firefighters had to knock down one of the walls, leveling the house, however, to keep the firefighters safe while they put out the flames.

The cause of the fire, which was reported just before midnight, is undetermined, he said. Neighbors said they heard a loud boom and noticed the dogs running, the Baton Rouge Fire Department said in a news release.

The investigation is ongoing, a spokesman said.